Registration Required? I hate that.

Conversation is the shiz, so I just don’t get making commenting hard to do.

I’d love to comment on Shonali Burke’s BNET column or so many other stories and articles, but once I get that “registration required” I stop. Too many IDs, logins to manage already.

I get the reasons why registration is required to comment:

  • Build community. Keep like-minded thinkers together. I am registered with Social Media Today, though now they don’t require that to post comments.
  • Harvest email addresses. But you have to give people the chance to opt OUT of your spam.
  • Target your audience for better marketing. Yet people can leave vital info blank, fake it, refuse to let you share that info with others.
  • Block spam, anonymous douchebags. There are tools and plugins that can help with that. I heart the irony of a few sites I’ve lurked, registration required… but all the members’ “buy this crap” spam comment links get approved.
  • Block Trolls, sock puppets. Hate spewing random mind dumps from those who really are not interested in engaging is part of moderating (another post).

The real reason I don’t register for every magazine or newspaper site: I shouldn’t have to.

Many newspapers and magazine websites are set up blog-style these days, so there are plenty of commenting systems available.

  • Disqus and Livefyre allow you to create your own ID, or use social profiles from Twitter and Facebook.
  • Plugins like Twitter Connect and Facebook Connect are options, but for me Facebook is personal. I’d only us it for personal not professional comments so having Facebook as the only option for a business publication is fail IMO.
  • American Express OPEN lets people post on their site with their LinkedIn profiles, makes sense for a business website marketing to business professionals.
  • Email address. This is by far the weakest, requires more work on the part of the moderators.

Magazines and newspapers should have the IT stall to install some plugins to block spam, keyword names, trolls. If they don’t want the debate, then don’t open the article to comments. If they do want engagement from their audience, the I got two words: Comment policy. Have one, enforce one. Block anonymous comments.

This “Registration, why?” debate is nothing new. I think you do more harm than good forcing people to join your magazine or website’s “community” just to post a non-anonymous comment. Am a I lurking troll who reads but won’t register for every magazine or e-zine?

Do you register just to comment?

Photo credit: That Penny Arcade shirt is too funny.

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32 thoughts on “Registration Required? I hate that.

  1. Damn, no wonder it’s not working. I read a book on how to get rich from social media and it said start a blog and make sure everyone has to pay $10 AND register when they comment. I paid $50 for that book, think I can get my money back? Now you come out w/ a story that you hate it……….I guess don’t buy any stock in my company, you just killed it? Maybe I can invest in MySpace………

    I’m just a simple guy so don’t put too many roadblocks in front of me, but Livefyre must have been pretty easy because Gini was one of the first people I replied to on a blog; and she responded………I’ll bet she’s second guessing that day……….do they have restraining orders on twitter?

    Looks like you have some lively comments; good job.
    Bill Dorman recently posted..What is on your iPod

    1. It is a lively discussion, now that I’ve unblocked some comments. Got to check those plugins, keep this simple and easy so it’s not hard to comment here! (Blogger fail, my bad.) Anyway Bill .. per your book, I have fabulous beachfront property in Arkansas, it’s listed on Myspace if you’re interested. And the Twitter version of a restraining order is I guess the ‘block and report’ button. 😉

  2. Sounds like there needs to be an app for that or at least another blog post…What “tools” or sites must you be signed up for in order to be effective in commenting (to be social!). It seems like you’ve already identified a few here. I’m with you. More than two steps, typically, I’m out.

    1. I do differentiate in a blog vs. a media site, but even then most of those are set-up blog style, similar apps and plugins. The whole reason behind it is 1) marketing, to accumulate advertising data and maybe keep you there; and 2) spam/comment moderation, so a bunch of no-name crappy comments and spam links don’t get posted. But there are 1) apps for that and 2) people, moderators b/c if the goal is to be social, then the author should at least be reviewing a few comments along w/ IT.

      IDK Patty, I’m just happy to see that other folks STOP when we hit a registration wall, when it takes too many steps to comment. Nice to know I’m not the only lurker out here. 😉

  3. Working side by side with marketers now in a large corporation, they live and die for that registration page to bring in a sales lead, convert to a sale and then spam everyone with more later.

    Knowing I’m a troll looking for good content, I hate to register because invariably I get the sales call and have to say, I’m little, have no budget, and am not a lead for you.

    I can probably count on two fingers when I get a sales call (huge corps) from a registration. I know you’re referencing comment systems, but registration is required elsewhere, too. Annoying, but necessary??
    Jayme Soulati recently posted..Help Edit What Is PR Definition

    1. Depends, Jayme. E-tial registration, that’s part security, privacy, protecting the CC info. As a company doing sales, of course you’re trying to weed out the tire kickers but then again, if you get prospects all the way through the sales cart but then they abandon it b/c the ordering process was too complicated by a ridiculous registration, that’s a fail.

      I’m mostly ranting on commenting, esp. major sites and pubs that should have the back-end support to manage it, and in theory should want more discussion and conversation. I read good articles that get 3 comments, have to suspect it’s b/c there are others like myself who won’t register, just RT and move on. FWIW.

  4. Hallelujah!

    I had one of these instances yesterday – great site, great article, I don’t want to invest the time in registering in order to comment.

    Also noteworthy – FB doesn’t give you the search creamy goodness that DISQUS and the others do. SEO people would suggest you avoid using FB as your comment system at all costs.


    Dave Van de Walle recently posted..A Year Without Soda

    1. Excellent point Dave, about the SEO. Many of comment b/c we love it but also b/c we know we’ll get a little link juice and increase our online presence. I don’t like to take the time, add another user ID, all that… especially when there are easier, spam blocking, better options. Glad to know it’s not just me, who doesn’t always register to comment.

      Sorry for the late reply, caught in spam. My bad.

  5. Hey, I used to be a sock puppet in my previous life…………

    Trust me, if it takes more than two steps you have probably lost me. Plus it seems like I have signed up for so much just to even get a ticket to the game I have my passwords posted on my wall.

    If I see a post and it interests me you would think the ‘poster’ would make it easy as possible to respond to their masterpiece. However, in my journey to set some of my ‘stuff’ up (which is very crude at best) who knows if part of the process puts some junk on there to make it difficult for people coming in…………no wonder I’m not making any dang money………..:(

    Good post and when I press submit comment I’m expecting it to post immediately, right?
    Bill Dorman recently posted..Will you miss me when I’m gone

    1. This, Bill, this. The passwords and user IDs in my head, feel like one more persona, I might as well move to the funny farm. Glad I’m not the only one who has issues with making commenting too damn hard. And YES to the immediacy of seeing the comment. I’ve got a draft working on moderation, mostly geared towards blogs but media sites it still applies as there are ways to zap the stupid spam. Never been a sock puppet, but am a lying liar who anonymously trolls the Internets secretly posting and tweeting at random. 😉

  6. Me too! Thanks for the reminder.

    As a matter of fact it was the BNET blog that encouraged me to throw a complaint around that I had with the process all over Twitter.

    It’s also forced my hand in something else; I’ve unsubscribed to their blogs.

    Maybe there’s an opportunity there. (For some social media marketing training.)

    The Franchise King®

    1. Joel, so nice to see it isn’t just me. If they don’t want social, don’t be open to comments. If the goal is marketing, collecting all that data to sell advertisers.. wouldn’t my SM profile give them what they want? Not to mention if I was commenting, I’d be on their pages longer.. more time to ‘view’ the ads. Thanks.

  7. Davina, I’m so happy you’d like to be able to comment on my BNET post. I know the registration thing bugs many people, but what to do, I don’t control it. 🙁 I’m actually thinking of suggesting Livefyre to my BNET editor, but I don’t know if she’ll be able to implement it… it will depend on what “Brother CBS” says, I suspect.

    I guess any comment system that tries to keep trolls to a minimum has to have some sort of checks and balances. I remember when people used to get up in arms over Twitter OAuth, and now they’ve gotten used to it. But I’m completely with you in trying to make it as easy as possible to comment.

    FWIW, I can’t stand comment systems that make me use captchas, because they are usually practically illegible, and I really dislike WordPress systems that make you confirm your comment. That’s one of the many things I like about Livefyre, as you know.

    Thank you for the BNET plug!
    Shonali Burke recently posted..The Challenge of Authenticity in Social Networking

    1. You are more than welcome for the plug Shonali. I’d love to mix it up over there and sure your posts would inspire some great discussions. But that comment wall I promise you is part of the problem. And sites of that calibre have the IT staff to fire up some spam blocky plugins, balance some checks.

      Not questioning the need to moderate and prevent crappy comments, ergo this week’s lovely graphic. You want names, real people discussing a post or article, not some ranting fanboys and girls or trolls just stirring the pot, adding links to porn, drugs, whatever they’re selling these days. The BNET site is a good example, why not a LI option or a Twitter plus email? IIRC Mashable uses Disqus. Sure you can still get crappy comments, but then.. that’s why you moderate. Or maybe decide on strategy, which posts you want engagement and let those have some posting options, but make some stories straight ‘news’ but not open for comments. IDK.. I just see it as something of a fail to be ‘open’ to comments, yet make it work.

      For a personal or SMB blog, kinda the same: keep it simple. I just added that GrowMap “check here if you’re not a vile spammer” button, not sure if that’s easier for guests or not. I’d like to figure out how to make it a little bolder, easier to see. Not a fan of captchas either. Does my WP site ask you to confirm, I’m not sure? So many things to worry about. 😉

  8. It’s funny you don’t consider Livefyre registration. I’m getting A LOT of feedback that people don’t like it because it requires a registration. But so does Disqus and WordPress and and and. I lean with you, but I know lots don’t.

    1. I registered for Disqus years ago Gini, when I saw it was a common comment system, but since then I think they’ve added options like using a Twitter ID. Which is the same with Livefyre, I don’t have a special account and name and password to remember, just use Twitter. Click that, authorize and done. My browser remembers that next Disqus or Livefyre site I hit.

      My halt is when I go to any business or newspaper or magazine, entertaiment or blog site and in order to comment, I can’t use my email/name, or an appropriate SM login. I HAVE to give them name, URL, email, then create a special handle just for them, remember that password, then they ask me to fill out a complete marketing rich demographic analysis, a psych profile, and 1.5 hour registration process just to add “great post, thanks.” Ahem. It’s just too much trouble, FWIW.

    2. I hear what you’re saying Gini, but there’s a definitive difference between standard wordpress and Livefyre. In fact, the first time I tried it I got confused…and so I left. Disqus is in the middle.

      Like many, I think Livefyre has GREAT potential, but it’s not there quite yet. But the problem most Livefyre users don’t see is that when a newbie comes to your blog, tries to comment but gets intimidated and confused (thus leaving no comment), they’re not going to go the extra mile to contact the blogger and say ‘Hey, your comment platform confuses me.’ Ya know what I mean? Surely Livefrye is some sweet action for us bloggers, but what about the rest of the world?? That, IMO, is the question.

      Marcus Sheridan-The Sales Lion recently posted..Relationship Marketing- Emotional Connections- and the Power of YOU

      1. I had to comment to your reply because I couldn’t have been greener or less adventerous when I made my first comment on Gini’s post. I think I had to sign up or register or do something, but somehow I got in and actually figured how to get my big ol’ dome in the Avatar too.

        From purely a reply standpoint, I think I’m on Disqus and Livefyre and both work for me and the way I’m engaging.

        I’m probably still too much of a novice to dissect or rate them.

        I’m just thinking if a big ol’ dummy like me can get in, it must be a virtual floodgate…………:)
        Bill Dorman recently posted..What is on your iPod

        1. Not a dummy Bill, just novice. 😉 It’s all about interest .. if really motivated I have registered (griping about a bad dry cleaner on Yelp for instance, but don’t think I remember anything about the login I created) a few times but more and more, I am not taking the time.

      2. Marcus, I agree w/ the simplicity factor. Part of the issue is familiarity.. how well we recognize the various commenting platforms.

        Depending on the conversation, the LF threading does get a little detailed, harder to follow. Casual commenters may not want to take the time to figure it all out. But that’s going to happen with any sort of threaded reply structure.

        One thing I do like that say WP or Disqus don’t offer but LF does, is the ability to reply in group. Like if persons A, B, H, P all have similar thoughts on a post, I can ‘like’ their individual comments but then just add ONE reply for them all.

        Agree w/ its potential but there are other functionalities for a blog host I’d want to have the option of adding as needed. FWIW.

  9. We don’t want to stifle conversation! Check out Livefyre when you switch. I’m partial to them, of course 😉
    I don’t know what Bryan set up for our site, but I know my old blog gets spam constantly! Yikes! I’m so grateful that’s not happening at my new one!
    Lori Gosselin recently posted..Flight or Flight- How Do You Decide

  10. I SO agree with you. I already find the login required with Disqus and Livefyre annoying, and it’s easy! I do want to include my online info when I comment, though. So it’s worth it. I really find sites that have their own registration system and require it for commenting really annoying. I rarely take the time, unless I find myself commenting there a lot. I keep meaning to upgrade my site to Disqus or Livefyre, but haven’t found the time, yet. I imagine you can get the email/contact info for commentors through those systems, though, to build your database. It might take a little more work on the publisher’s part, but it’s less of a barrier on the user’s side. That should be the deciding factor.

    Thanks, Davina!
    Neicole Crepeau recently posted..Test Your &amp@! Product on the iPad!

    1. Disqus is so common, I went ahead and signed up a couple years ago. Lifefyre lets me use my Twitter handle, authorized once and done. I think when Livefyre gets a CommentLuv compatibility, I’d be willing to give the switch a try Neicole, see what happens.

      EASY is what it should be, if publisher’s really want engagement. I know for even my little blog, it’s part of the reason I’ve stuck with plain old name, email, URL.. keep it simple. Now of course the NYT or USA Today can’t do that, they’d open the floodgates to every wacko with a keyboard. Limiting me to just Facebook is a peeve of mine, as is making me register and give my email address, create a user name and password just for YOUR special site. It stops me from commenting, depriving the world of my profundity and wisecracks. Which is possibly part of their evil plan. 😉

  11. Hi Davina,
    Happy Monday!
    I don’t like the double-registration thing to receive follow-up comments either. I receive too much email already. We use Livefyre, as you know on our blog and I’m very happy with it. With one click you can see more than just the commenter’s latest post – you can see any links they want you to see! It just takes a moment to set up the ID and then you’re all set on any site that uses Livefyre.

    Our moderator and creator of our site set it up so that we get ZERO spam, which is amazing! I think Livefyre has something to do with that too! So I’m in comment heaven!
    Have a good one!

    1. I’m getting there Lori. A few little improvements and I’ll consider changing comment systems. That’s talking about an individual or small blog; I edited this post down to limit it to more general interest sites: news organizations, magazines, and yes BIG blogs like HuffPo or so many others.

      I commented on an article in the Chicago paper a little while ago, wasn’t anything strategic or related to my business per se, but I read the piece, had two pennies to offer. I did it because I could, via Twitter. No fuss, no special pay wall or other hoops to jump. But many times it happens that all I can do is RT b/c comments are closed and locked. I get that it keeps out spam, trolls.. but IMO it not only stifles the conversation they may want, but the readership interest as well. FWIW.

      1. Oy vey for sure! But tell me how do you register at Disqus – I mean to leave a comment (I’m committed to Livefyre!) I did a lot of disk cleaning and today am showing up as “unregistered’ at Disqus over at Griddy’s site. I don’t know how to get back in! Oy vey again (not sure what it means LOL – am I cursing – I hope not!)
        Livefyre! Livefyre! Livefyre! 😮
        Lori Gosselin recently posted..Flight or Flight- How Do You Decide

        1. I signed up for Disqus years ago, my email and a password and did fill out a little profile. There’s a login button similar to Livefyre next to the comment box, let’s you enter that email and password. I think that Disqus blogs will also let you use a Twitter id as well. Hope it helps.

          And yes, I am considering Livefyre. There are just some choices, like more settings for subscribing to conversations, some functionality that I’d like to see available as options to blog owners, like commentLuv, other ways to make it simple.

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